Thursday, I promised the story of our "new" car.
For months, Rob had been pushing me to consider buying a new van. He thought our 2003 Chrysler Town and Country was getting old. The doors didn't work reliably. It had a couple of leaks. It looked ugly and beat up.
I didn't want a new car. It's ONLY a 2003. Who cares if we have to open the doors manually? Yeah, I put a big dent in one door, but the interior was still in great shape, and it was the most tricked-out vehicle I'd ever had. I liked not having a car payment. Plus, we are only a year away from going from four kids at home to two. I wanted to wait, preferably until the car fell apart of its own accord. And, in the back of my mind, I knew that if I had to get another van, I wanted another like the one I had, just newer, but preferably used--and maybe around $16K.
Well, in my effort to keep my van running, I took it to the dealer and had them give it a bumper to bumper check to fix any troubles before we went on vacation. We sunk about $3000 into it, but that's better than a new car, right? Got the oil changed, too, and in June, we started on our cross-country adventure.
On the second day, the oil light flashed as we pulled out of the hotel parking lot. Just flashed--once, about 2 seconds, then went off. So we decided we'd check the oil when we stopped, and if the light came on, we'd pull over.
A couple of hours or so down the road, the car starts a low rattle. By the time we'd ruled out the cupholders, it was making clunking noises. (No warning lights--just clunka-clunk). We pulled into the first exit, which fortunately had a truck repair show right off the exit, a gas station, Burger King, and nothing else.
The mechanic only needed a couple of seconds to know that we were about to throw a rod. The oil had completely burned dry, there were metal flakes in the engine. He told Rob it was probably the two days of highway driving. In other words, yes, the car fell apart of its own accord.
We're in Oawakville, IL--tiny, midwestern town--and we have to buy a new car. As they call the Chevy dealer, I have whine, half-laugh at our fate and put in my one request to the Lord, "I just want another Grand Caravan."
The guys from Chevy Streuter came to get us in their Hummer. Their entire lot was about the size of our yard. They only had two cars that would meet our needs: one, a black 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan, prices at $16,000.
Sometimes, I think God likes to give me a surprise.
The salespeople were wonderful. They detailed the car as I watched, double-checked everything, towed our old car over so we could transfer the stuff, and did everything they could to make us comfortable and get us out quickly on the road to Aunt Sara's house. The car is terrific, and though it has fewer fun features than my old one, it does have more space, working doors and no dents.
So, aside from the car payment, Rob and I both got our wishes. And, I'll keep this one until it falls apart of its own accord--though hopefully, not in the middle of another vacation.